Course Description and Objectives
This course gives the student who has demonstrated excellent Spanish language skills the opportunity to learn the complexity, beauty and breadth of the Spanish language as an art, and to use his knowledge to discuss the cultural context of the material being studied. He spends a considerable amount of time reading and analyzing numerous works in Spanish and then writes significant essays analyzing, comparing and contrasting the readings and placing them in a cultural scenario that amplifies the significance of the work. By completing a rigorous process that enables an in-depth appreciation of the works the student is able to place Spanish literature alongside other works he has and will study in the future throughout his academic endeavors. The class is taught entirely in Spanish. Upon the completion of the course the student is able to recognize good Spanish literature and to evaluate its cultural significance and in comparison to other literature he encounters.
Abriendo Puertas, Antologías de literatura en Español Tomos I y II. (ISBN 0-618-22206-5) (Revised reading List)
Other poetry and literature anthologies as necessary.
Critiques and reviews available on the Internet from publishers in Spain, South America and the United States.
Outline of Areas Covered
- History: Each work is first placed into its historical context. This is composed of the social history at the time the work was written and by the period of the development of the Spanish literature as an art that influenced the author. Students are able to discuss the socio-political history at the time the work was written as well as the state of the literary art.
- Authors: We study the life and times of the author, their accomplishments and their socio-political significance in history in order to better understand the writings and the cultural environment extant at their creation. By comparing the cultural and intellectual environment that various authors experienced we can better understand their work, and better appreciate it intrinsic value and compare it to other works.
- Techniques: Once we know when, who and why a work was written we can now analyze it to determine how it was done, and why the features of its composition raise it to a level worthy of consideration as art. Much time is spent learning good literary techniques in order to gain a full understanding of the language as a tool for the art.
- Themes: The story of development of man has evolved around a series of universal, classical themes that are present in all cultures. Careful analysis of the writing reveals how the authors treat these themes and present them for the readers’ contemplation within the unique setting of the Spanish language. The student will be able to recognize these themes and perhaps apply some of the universal truths to his own experience.
- Vocabulary: Due to the complexity and richness of the vocabulary in the studied works, the student will continue to develop his own vocabulary and experience its use in good writing. The class will spend time frequently practicing the use of the vocabulary in order to deepen the students’ knowledge of the language in general.
- Writing: During the entire course the student is constantly writing and re-writing his perceptions and interpretations in structured and free essays in order to be able to achieve an excellent capability to communicate in the Spanish language.
- Literature types: All of the major types of writing are studied during the course, short stories, novels, theatrical scripts, poetry, sonnets, etc. The student learns the characteristics of each and is able to analyze the techniques used by the authors in order to contrast and compare with other works.
In this course the student is expected to aggressively pursue his knowledge of Spanish literature as an art and will be graded on his ability to:
- Actively participate in the daily discussion and activities in the classroom.
- Take good, clear, concise notes of the material presented.
- Demonstrate good practice of the literary analysis tools through the successful completion of homework.
- Demonstrate meaningful knowledge of the material through high performance levels on quizzes, tests, and essays.
- Successfully make oral presentations.
Since this course actively develops the student’s language capability through repetitive practice and participation, the successful student will:
- Consistently participate actively in class.
- Practice the learned skills through the purposeful and timely completion of homework.
- Practice their spoken Spanish regularly.
- Actively seek help from the teacher during the school day, or after school.
- Realize that a second language is a whole new universe. The ability to speak in two or more languages is elemental in Europe and the use of Spanish in the United States on a daily basis has become a reality; that the skills and habits used to successfully learn a second language can be used in any new learning endeavor. The ability to use Spanish well greatly enhances his ability to seek sources of strength and beauty. That it empowers the student to more richly participate in all facets of a society that seeks the continual growth of man.